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Flying Blind in a Pandemic

At-home testing clouds the case count.

Back when there were mass testing sites for people concerned that they might have COVID-19, we had a pretty good concept of the disease’s spread.

Now with the dominance of home test kits, people are basically “self-diagnosing” and we don’t have the same visibility on the spread or dominance of the disease or variants.

Likely the only real number we can count are how many people are hospitalized with a COVID-related diagnosis. On that note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting an 18 percent increase in the seven-day average for hospitalizations.

In talking with a friend, he reported that in a family of four, three have had COVID-19 and exhibited symptoms, and one has not. How that is possible, I don’t know. We surmised that perhaps he had COVID-19 but was not symptomatic.

Another example of why it is difficult to track the progress of the disease in real time.

Personally, I’m still wearing a mask when I take mass transit/the train and when I go shopping at stores.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.